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Immigration system is “inflexible and restrictive”

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Key changes that “tighten” the immigration rules include:  

•    Employees from outside the EEA and Switzerland (migrants) must not, as a result of an intra-company transfer, directly replace a “settled worker”.•    If a migrant’s core duties or responsibilities change (through promotion, for example) and they continue to work for the same sponsor, a new Certificate of Sponsorship will need to be issued by the employer. Fresh leave to remain in the UK will also need to be obtained by the employee before they start the new job.

Key changes that “relax” the immigration rules include the following:  

•    The anomaly that saw City employers having to advertise very senior roles (directorships, chief executives and legal partner roles, for instance) with Jobcentre Plus has now been ended, provided the annual salary package is £130,000 or more.•    There is no longer a requirement for a migrant’s salary to be paid in the UK.•    An increase or temporary reduction in a migrant’s salary no longer requires a change of employment action.

So what impact will this have on entrepreneurs? City employers are likely to see a decline in the number of intra-company transfers that are approved by the UK Border Agency. The Migration Advisory Committee expects to see a drop of nearly 20,000 in the number of migrant workers who take up UK roles in 2009 under tier two of the immigration system. City employers will be forced to find alternative ways of hiring migrants (recruiting those who qualify under the “highly skilled worker” category, for example) or, where this is not possible, accept defeat.    

“Even though we have seen a slight relaxing of the rules ‘around the edges’, many City employers will still view the immigration rules as ‘uncommercial’, inflexible and too restrictive,” comments Edward Wanambwa, partner at CM Murray LLP.

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